Ventilation is one of the most important engineering controls available to the industrial hygienist for improving or maintaining the quality of the air in the occupational work environment. Broadly defined, ventilation is a method of controlling the environment with air flow.
Ventilation is addressed in specific standards for the general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and the construction industry.
This section highlights OSHA standards and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to ventilation.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Shipyard Employment (29 CFR 1915)
- 1915 Subpart D, Welding, cutting and heating
- 1915.51, Ventilation and protection in welding, cutting and heating
Longshoring (29 CFR 1918)
- 1918 Subpart I, General working conditions
- 1918.94, Ventilation and atmospheric conditions (See also 1918.2, definitions of Hazardous cargo, materials, substance or atmosphere and Ro-Ro operations)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- Tunnel/Underground construction requirements: use of flexible bag lines for ventilation; location of main ventilation fan; and reversible ventilation. (2003, February 25).
- Reiteration of Existing OSHA Policy on Indoor Air Quality: Office Temperature/Humidity and Environmental Tobacco Smoke. (2003, February 24).
- Vapor areas must be limited; concentrations must remain below 25% of the substances' lower flammable limit. (2002, September 10).
- Record retention requirements for indoor air quality documents and reports. (2002, August 1).
- Hierarchy of controls for exposure to air contaminants. (2002, June 24).
- Air monitoring results, citations, and employee exposure records. (2002, March 27).
- Clarification of minimum face velocity requirements for spray booths. (2001, October 22).
- Fall protection requirements for both residential and commercial HVAC systems; clarification of confined spaces. (2001, September 13).
- Compliance with NFPA 30-2000 ventilation requirements is considered a deminimus violation. (2001, August 27).
- Search all available standard interpretations.
Ventilation may be deficient in confined spaces, facilities failing to provide adequate maintenance of ventilation equipment, facilities operated to maximize energy conservation, windowless areas, and areas with high occupant densities. The following references aid in recognizing and evaluating hazards associated with ventilation in the workplace.
- Field Operations Manual (FOM). OSHA Directive CPL 02-00-150, (2011, April 22).
- OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20). Several portions of the OTM include ventilation as part of the evaluation process:
- Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice, 25th Edition. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), (2004). Provides research data and information on the design, maintenance, and evaluation of industrial exhaust ventilation systems, including basic ventilation principles and sample calculations.
Industrial ventilation generally involves the use of supply and exhaust ventilation to control airborne contaminants, in the workplace, to acceptable levels. Other major applications of industrial ventilation are to prevent fire and
explosions, and to control temperature, humidity, and odors. The following resources contain information about the use of ventilation controls.
- OSHA Technical Manual (OTM). OSHA Directive TED 01-00-015 [TED 1-0.15A], (1999, January 20). Several portions of the OTM reference ventilation as a means for controlling health hazards:
- Indoor Air Quality. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page. Provides safety and health information about indoor air quality in the workplace. Concerns over indoor air quality are often addressed by employing a variety of ventilation techniques.
- Control of Exposure to Perchloroethylene in Commercial Drycleaning (Ventilation). US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-157, (1997). Contains information on using ventilation to control chemical exposures and help prevent vapors from reaching the worker's breathing zone.
- Control of Smoke From Laser/Electric Surgical Procedures. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication 96-128, (1996). Discusses recommended ventilation techniques for effectively controlling airborne contaminants generated by surgical devices.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
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